Natasha Stott Despoja, Ian Smith & Conrad Stott Smith
Natasha Stott Despoja, former politician and Leader of the Australian Democrats and husband Ian Smith joined The Orangutan Project as Ambassadors in early 2013 alongside their eight-year-old son, Conrad Stott Smith, in an effort to raise awareness about Critically Endangered orangutans.
Natasha, Ian and their children Conrad and daughter Cordelia, have always been passionate about animals, but after a trip to Borneo to see the orangutans in their natural environment they became fascinated by them. Natasha and Ian understand how important it is to protect rare and endangered animal species, and have a special love for orangutans.
“Orangutans are animals so closely related to humans, yet as a species we do so much to hurt them” Ian says, adding “we must change that”.
Natasha had a unique political career dating back to 1995, when she became the youngest women ever elected to Federal Parliament. After a successful career in politics Natasha retired in 2008 after the birth of her second child. In 2011 Natasha was named a Member of the Order of Australia for service to the Parliament of Australia, particularly for her leadership roles and for being a role model for women.
Natasha's new role as The Orangutan Project's Ambassador has the whole family involved, with son Conrad being a natural supporter (given his hair colour) of the 'Redheads for Redheads' campaign run by TOP. They all wish to play a part in highlighting the importance of these wonderful creatures and the dangers they are facing.
Zoë Foster Blake
Author, columnist and skin care founder Zoë Foster Blake is the latest Aussie celeb to voice concern for the orangutan species, joining The Orangutan Project in 2013 as an Ambassador. Zoë has always had a deep fondness and great awe for orangutans, and has been privately supporting TOP for almost ten years now. Zoë has had a successful career in the magazine industry as a beauty editor and author, and has published six books. She is most recently the CEO and founder of Go-To skin care, an all-natural Australian skin care range. Go-To is proud to be a Gold Business Partner of TOP.
Zoe and her husband, Hamish Blake, visited the International Animal Rescue Centre in Kalimantan, Borneo in 2014 to help raise awareness for the orangutans and see the rainforest destruction first hand, filming a story for A Current Affair in the process.
"The orangutans are in dire straits, and it is our duty to help those who cannot help themselves," Zoë says, adding "their numbers are diminishing rapidly, their habitat is being destroyed, poachers hunt them – why wouldn’t we help them?"
Zoë believes it is extremely important that we continue to do all we can in our power to help protect these beautiful creatures from becoming extinct, with their admirable intelligence and so many shared similarities to human beings.
Bianca Dye is one of the sassiest and most outspoken media celebrities in Australia - a role model for all women and she isn't afraid to tell it like it is!
Bianca has joined the Redheads for Redheads campaign, and will be travelling to Sumatra in November 2012, alongside Leif Cocks, President of TOP.
Bianca is the only female radio announcer to win "Best Radio Personality" in Australia two years in a row and has won numerous radio awards after 15 years in radio. She is passionate about animals and has previously worked with Humane Society International and the RSPCA as an ambassador and fundraiser. Bianca has also written a book with Dr Cindy Pan "Playing Hard To Get" (Harper Collins) and her next book in the works will be about blowing away the taboo of daily anxiety and helping others.
“I am extremely excited to be joining forces with TOP to help raise awareness about the plight of the orangutan. Ever since I can remember I have had a fascination with orangutans. They are the most incredibly peaceful and friendly creatures and it breaks my heart that they are a dying breed due to human greed,” says Bianca. “They need a voice, they need to be heard and I want to do whatever I can to help them.”
As Founder of the eco lifestyle website Ecochick.com and Host/Producer of Eco TV
, Lara Shannon is a passionate and inspiring advocate for the environment. Lara is currently working on a documentary about the Trans Borneo Challenge with 7 other women to raise awareness about the plight of the orangutans, palm oil and to raise funds for The Orangutan Project’s conservation work.
Lara spoke on ABC News 24
recently about the TBC and her association with TOP.
After commencing her career in the media as a university grad, she worked first as a radio talk back producer and print journalist before waking up one day in her early twenties and deciding that she needed to do more to ‘give back’.
Two weeks later she secured a job with WWF; working on developing corporate funded conservation programs; becoming a key media spokeswoman. Since then, Lara has been working as an environmental & social campaigner.
In 2012, Lara launched Ecochick.com to provide a resource and inspiration for people to reduce their environmental footprint through simple, sustainable lifestyle changes.
We would like to thank Lara for her fantastic support and wish her every success with the challenge.
Jarryd is currently a professional AFL athlete and Vice-Captain at the Hawthorn Football Club. Since becoming aware of the orangutan and its ever-decreasing population, Jarryd has become incredibly interested in these amazing creatures and hopes that by becoming an ambassador for TOP he can help educate individuals on the orangutan’s importance and their brilliance.
“Through education we can then work as one to eliminate the threats to their existence. The orangutan is such a beautiful animal and through our efforts in conserving the orangutan’s habitat, anti-poaching patrols, promoting sustainable forestry and agriculture, and halting the pet trade we can make a difference to their survival.” Says Jarryd. “Over my career I have been exposed to a range of experiences and gained many skills and values. In addition to specific football skills, I have learned the importance of effective leadership, with TOP I look forward to expanding my leadership off the field and for such a great cause. “
“A great way for everyone to help is to adopt an orangutan through TOP. I’m currently fostering Monti, which assists in providing her with the support, care and rehabilitation she needs to survive,” says Jarryd.
Channel 7 actress Cornelia Frances joined The Orangutan Project in 2011 as its first Ambassador in an effort to raise awareness about Critically Endangered orangutans.
Cornelia Francis is a renowned Australian actress who has appeared on several Australian TV shows including, The Box, The Young Doctors, Sons and Daughters and her most memorable role as Morag Bellingham in Home and Away, which she has starred in for over 20 years. She also hosted the Australia version of the quiz show, The Weakest Link.
"I am extremely excited to be joining forces with TOP to help raise awareness about the plight of the orangutan. I could not think of a better cause to lend my hand of support. I look forward to bringing national attention to the dire situation orangutans face from habitat loss and help raise much needed funds to ensure the survival of the species," said Cornelia.
Georgia has always had a deep fondness and great awe for orangutans and by joining TOP as an Ambassador she hopes to spread the word and encourage more people to adopt an orangutan. Being selected in the Hockeyroo’s in 2009 at the age of 17, Georgia instantly became one of the youngest Hockeyroo’s in history and at 20 years of age she became the youngest woman in history to play 100 games for Australia.
“On the hockey field my red hair is a very defining feature and it is something that I have always been very proud of,” says Georgia. “Many of my team mates often joke about me being related to Orangutans! Although the comments are always in jest, I can't help but feel a certain closeness to our furry friends and I feel very passionate about doing what I can to help them.”
Georgia believes it is extremely important that we continue to do all we can in our power to help protect these beautiful creatures from becoming extinct, with their admirable intelligence and so many shared similarities to human beings.